SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 27, 2023

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):Universidad Industrial de Santander

Region & Country:Americas | Colombia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 27, 2023, a group of hooded individuals entered the campus of the Industrial University of Santander as part of a wider demonstration. They proceeded to vandalize campus infrastructure, loot computer equipment and other items, and ultimately caused about $1.2 Billion pesos (about $28,000 USD) in damage.

The individuals were engaged in a demonstration commemorating two years since the start of a national strike to protest the government’s economic policies. A nationwide student strike was scheduled for the following day. The individuals who caused the damage do not appear to have been affiliated with the university, and the incident triggered a strong outcry from the university community.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the destruction of campus property and infrastructure in the course of a protest. Such acts erode the right to education, and diminish everyone’s access to a safe, free and open university space. State and campus authorities should take all reasonable measures to prevent and respond to such incidents, including ensuring campus security and conducting prompt and thorough investigations, as appropriate.